Can-GARD: Advanced Therapies for Rare Diseases
2020 Spring Accelerator Grant Competition


Rare diseases affect 1 in 12 Canadians—a significant but underserved number, with untold costs to families, society, and the health-care system. The rarity of these diseases means that diagnosis is an odyssey of genetic and other testing that leads to a definitive diagnosis for fewer than 50 per cent of patients, while treatments remain scarce.  Hope for patients lies in the defining moments of clinical care: diagnosis and treatment. Our patients inspire us to push harder for the research discoveries that will improve their lives. One of the biggest challenges medical researchers face, particularly in underfunded areas like rare disease research, is securing the grant funding to get a novel idea off the ground. Seed funding gives life to the most innovative, high-risk ideas that are hard to fund through grants or other sources.

Can-GARD is led by Drs. Monica Justice, Head of the SickKids Genetics and Genome Biology (GGB) Program, James Dowling, Physician in the Department of Neurology and Senior Scientist in GGB, and Roberto Mendoza-Londono, Chief of the Clinical and Metabolic Genetics Division at SickKids. Can-GARD has two core beliefs: that every individual with a rare disease deserves (i) an accurate genetic diagnosis and (ii) appropriate treatment. These ambitious goals will be realized nationally across the pillars of research, education, and training.

Can-GARD aims to fund proposals that would eliminate barriers in the diagnostic or treatment journey for rare disease patients.  It is anticipated that approximately 3 grants will be awarded in this competition. Any topic: Basic research, clinical application, population studies, and machine learning approaches will be considered.
Can-GARD has partnered with The Rare Disease Models and Mechanisms (RDMM) Network who will match one grant which will be made to an RDMM investigator, aiming to take their research on rare disease diagnosis or treatment to the next level.

Type: Accelerator award for early-stage, potentially transformative research that has the promise for future funding.

Eligibility: The award is open to MD, PhD or MD/PhD investigators who hold an independent faculty position in the field of rare disease at a Canadian health research institute for the duration of the award.

Amount and Term: The maximum amount per grant* is $75,000CDN per year over a one or two year period, depending upon scope and quality.
*RDMM/Can-GARD Connect Award – One of the total awards will be supplemented by the RDMM Network.  Maximum amount of this joint award will be $100,000 CDN per year.

Content and deadlines:  The Letter of Intent Application will include 1) a one page Letter of Intent (LOI) Summary Information Form that outlines the intended project and includes investigator qualifications and 2) CIHR Academic CV.  The LOI Application should be submitted to no later than November 30, 2019 (11:59pm, EST).  Applications will be reviewed by the Can-GARD Scientific Evaluation Committee and a subset of grants will be invited for a full proposal.

Click here for LOI instructions and Letter of Intent (LOI) Summary Information Form available online.

Full grant proposals: Due April 9, 2020 (11:59pm, EST) and research plan not to exceed 5 pages.
For further instructions and forms please visit 2020 Spring Accelerator Grant Competition – Full Application